The other day I got a text message from a friend. She needed someone to watch her daughter later that day for a couple hours, and she wondered if I could help her out.
I was so excited to get that message – and to say yes.
Was I excited because I love babysitting – or even my friend’s daughter in particular? Well, not really (although her daughter is a complete doll and super easy to watch for an evening). I was excited that someone was asking me for help, and I could help her. That simple.
Nobody likes to ask for help, right? It’s awkward and we feel needy and nobody wants to be a burden. But sometimes, well, sometimes we need help.
As I was thinking about this, I realized that in general I tend to make friends with women like me. Many of my friends are type A, organized, got it together [or at least look like they do] women. And as a rule, women like that (women like me) don’t like to ask for help.
We don’t want to bother anyone.
We don’t want to be “the needy friend.”
We don’t want to admit we can’t do it all.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe my friends will leave me comments or send me emails telling me that they DO, in fact, have it all together all the time. But I don’t think so.
Since my husband has been working nights, I’ve been forced to ask for help several times. And every time, it feels awful. Partly because of the reasons I mentioned earlier – I don’t want to be a bother or appear so needy – but also because my friends don’t seem to ever need MY help in return.
I’m not saying that I feel like I owe my friends something if they help me. I know the women I call friends don’t keep score that way! But I honestly enjoy helping people I care about and am always thankful for the chance to do so. Helping a friend blesses me just as much as being helped by a friend.
Have your friends ever said things like, “If you ever need someone to watch your kids, let me know!” “Can I help?” “What can I do?” or “Let me know how I can help.” If you have friends who say things like that, thank God – and then take them up on those offers. Bless your friends by letting them help you!
By building walls and wearing masks and refusing to admit we need help, much less ask for or accept it, we’re shortchanging ourselves and our friends. We’re trading authentic friendship and rich relationships for smoke and mirrors and false pretenses of perfection.
Let’s not do that.
Let’s ask for help when we need it and accept help when it’s offered. And, of course, let’s help each other when our friends are brave enough to ask.
When was the last time you had to ask for help?
This post is part of 31 Days of Giving Up on Perfect, because helping each other is way better than looking perfect and standing alone. All month long, I’ll be writing about my fight against perfectionism and my quest to get on with life, already. For more 31 Days, visit The Nester.